Aspiring Medics – Operating Theatre LIVE

Following the phenomenal success of Operating Theatre Live’s Cornish debut last December, Truro High School once again to hosted this fantastic event for aspiring medics from all over Cornwall.
This year’s programme was bigger and better than ever before with a host of new workshops, never yet presented in the county. The one-day workshop took place at school on Saturday 4 November and gave delegates the chance to follow an in-depth medical course, set in a mobile operating theatre.
 
The workshop was open to all those from Year 9 and Year 10 and proved ideal for those considering applying for university to study medicine, dentistry, health courses or the biosciences. Over the course of the day, delegates worked with real anatomical specimens with each section of the day linking back to GCSE and A level Biology specifications with careers in health/medicine as a focus.
 
“This is the best STEM teaching resource I’ve ever seen” – UCL Academy, London
 
The day at Truro High School included:
 
Introduction to medicine and patient care  During this session, students learnt the process of selecting and applying for higher education courses in health, bioscience and medicine. Pupils discussed the strategies used by universities to shortlist UCAS applications and the problem based learning approach used at interviews. Students were presented with their patient and given a set of patient notes, they discussed the importance of record keeping for accountability, communication and teamwork in the clinical setting.
 
NEW: HIV ELISA Pupils learnt about the epidemiology and properties of HIV in regards to the structure of the virus, how it infects host cells and how this affects our immune system and presents clinically. Pupils also became familiar with the principle diagnostic method of identifying a virus within the blood of a patient suspected of being HIV positive through the biochemistry assay, Enzyme linked IMMUNOSORBENT ASSAY (ELISA) that uses antibodies and colour to identify antigens. They understood core principles of the test and how to carry out an ELISA test under laboratory conditions. 
 
NEW: Blood Testing  Pupils understood principles surrounding ABO blood grouping the primary classification of blood grouping currently recognised.  This included how blood groups are inherited and why blood groups are crucial clinically.
 
Basic human anatomy  In this session pupils got to grips with the level 4 technical terminologies used to describe human anatomy. This included placing the human body into the anatomical position, locating the major anatomical cavities as well as the terms to describe and locate organs around the body.
 
Preparing anaesthetics  Students prepared and administered Propofol anaesthetic for their patients, using standard lab skills. Students weighed out solid Propofol and make up a stock solution to a given concentration.  Using the patient notes students used their patient’s mass to calculate the volume of their Propofol they need to administer by IV injection to induce anaesthesia. Students used our patient simulators to inject anaesthetic into the arm. Students learnt the different ways of administering medicines to deliver them to target sites around the human body.
 
The GI tract  The live dissection began in the abdominal cavity, students got hands on with a real GI tract to see, touch and feel the oesophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. This included discussion on Chrohn’s disease, lactose intolerance, the role of enzymes and factors affecting optimum performance as well as the parasitic threadworm.
 
The cardiovascular system  In this session students built on their understanding of the structure and function of the human heart. They developed their knowledge of the structural tissues surrounding that make up the 3D structure of the heart. Students located the heart and listened to the ‘Lub-Dub’ sound using a stethoscope. Following this, students used their knowledge of the four chambers and four blood major blood vessels to perform an angioplasty, fit a pacemaker and carry out a heart transplant all on their life-size patients using real thoracic anatomy. Students also learnt to read and interpret ECG scans matching this to the different phases of the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle.
 
The respiratory system  Students dissected the lungs, larynx and trachea to observe the anatomy of the airway. Students developed an understanding of terminology used to describe ventilation both at rest and during exercise. Students examined the alveoli and describe the movement of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide during diffusion.
 
The nervous system  Students developed their understanding of the nervous system. Firstly, identifying the main structures of the central and peripheral nervous system before moving on to look at the structure of the skull and meningitis as an infection. Students then looked at how the nervous system is broken down into the autonomic and somatic divisions and then the sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways. Students then took part in a head dissection, removing the brain from the cranial cavity to observe the left and right hemisphere; students observed the brain stem and the top of the spinal cord before removing the eyeball from the orbit to observe the optic nerve.
 
Amputation  During this session, students observed the anatomy of the limb. The context was set and students were in the trauma setting of a busy accident and emergency clinic. Students learnt the structure of the long bone as well as the medical terminology used to describe breaks and fractures in the clinical setting. Students then used medical equipment to remove the muscle tissue to reveal the bone inside the leg. After observing the pelvic hip joint students used a saw to amputate the leg using real surgical procedures, stitching the patients leg closed before inserting a fluid drain. Students learnt about the inflammatory response and the build-up of tissue fluid at the site of trauma.
 
The day ended with the awarding of an ‘Operating Theatre Live’ certificate for each student to add to their personal development portfolio.  This can be used as evidence for participating in activities related to a career in medicine which will enhance a personal statement and their UCAS university application.
 
Truro High School is staged the event as part of its comprehensive, and much lauded, programme for Aspiring Medics. To find out more about the event, or the medics’ programme, please contact the school as soon as possible.